European Parliament confirms Juhan Parts as Estonian auditor at ECA
The European Parliament confirmed MP Juhan Parts (IRL) as Estonia’s representative at the European Court of Auditors on Tuesday.
Of the members of the European Parliament, 488 voted in Parts’ favor, 133 against him. According to information available to the Estonian MEPs, Parts could be fairly certain that he would be confirmed.
The vote was not preceded by a debate, though Belgian MEP Bart Staes commented that there could be more men at the European Court of Auditors. As Parts is replacing Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, the issue of the minority of women at the court came up also during the hearings leading up to Parts’ confirmation.
Budgetary control committee: Nomination of a man an issue
Parts was heard by the parliament’s budgetary control committee and asked right at the beginning how he justified the Estonian state’s financial help for Estonian Air, which was later found to have been in violation of European Union market law. He explained the case in detail, and insisted once again that what happened had not been fraud, and neither had it been a conscious violation of the EU’s laws regulating competition in the domestic market.
The committee also wanted to know about the case of the support granted to OÜ Ermamaa, the company of former Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves. Parts explained the financial matters involved, also adding that though he did have a personal opinion, he was only presenting the committee with the facts of the case.
Apart from references to bigger and smaller domestic scandals, Parts was asked several times why Estonia didn’t nominate a woman. As Estonia’s representative at the European Court of Auditors, Parts is the replacement for President Kersti Kaljulaid, who had spent 12 years in this capacity before she was elected president of Estonia in early November this year.
Parts will be replaced in the Riigikogu by IRL’s Tiina Kangro, and has announced that he himself was going to leave the party before taking up his position as auditor.
Parts, born in Tallinn in 1966, has been Estonian prime minister, auditor general, and minister of economic affairs in two of Andrus Ansip’s governments.